A daily newsletter guide to what is happening on your screens - TV, streaming, movies, games, VR, AR
Dan Barrett is an industry commentator & TV critic. He does radio - 4BC & ABC GC and co-hosts the Screen Watching podcast. He's a former Mediaweek deputy editor and content creator for SBS.
New podcast from The Office cast. ALSO: The morning after Apple TV+.
Always Be Watching is written by former Dunder Miflin intern Dan Barrett
Get ready to add a new podcast to your apps: Office Ladies brings together Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey, who are best friends in real life, to break down an episode of The Office and provide behind-the-scenes stories and answer questions from listeners. It starts October 16.
With the recent closure of the Sky Business/Your Money channel in Australia, there has been a number of talented and bright people looking to find new work. One of the interesting projects that has sprung up has been former host Ahron Young launching a streaming video start-up called Ticker.
Mediaweek, the local media industry trade magazine (and my former employer), had a weekly show on the TV channel. It has now joined Ahron Young for a weekly streamed show on Ticker.
Here’s episode one:
Apple TV+: The morning after…
Yesterday saw Apple announce details of its streaming service Apple TV+. The announcement was a huge deal for two reasons:
The obvious: It was one of the world’s largest tech companies announcing a streaming media service with significant financial backing that will have an impact on the TV industry globally.
It marked the tipping point of large-scale companies announcing its plans. If we’re to consider the big guns moving forward as: Netflix, Amazon, Apple, Disney, WarnerMedia, and NBCUniversal, then Apple announcing its model means we now know what exactly over half of the companies plan to bring to market. With fewer questions over price/what/how, it is much easier for the industry to get a handle on what the future will be looking like.
After the announcement, shares in Roku dropped 12% (significant as they are neck and neck leaders with Amazon in selling set-top boxes for customers to stream TV shows), and Netflix shares dropped 3%. Source: Multichannel
And Apple stock rose 3%.
“We think this is most interesting when looked at as an indicator that Apple has shifted its view to customer long-term value in its overall ecosystem,” Macquarie said in a note to clients, noting the one year of free service being offered to anyone who buys a new Apple device.
“In our view, even if video is a wild success for Apple (attracting 50%-100% of Netflix subs), it wouldn’t move [long-term earnings per share] more than 0.5%. However, it should be good for the overall ecosystem.”
The question to keep in mind is this: Where is the actual impact felt by Apple TV+?
You’ll see a lot of articles floating around today about how Apple TV+ isn’t a Netflix competitor. And it isn’t. Neither is Amazon or Disney+. Each of these companies have different agendas:
Apple wants you to buy more iPhones/iPads/Airpods, but importantly they want you using the TV app. Apple TV+ is essentially a marketing tool. It will look enticing in Apple Shops, Apple customers will get free subscriptions, and it will encourage people to log into the TV app more where Apple can then up-sell customers movie/TV show rentals and also sell third-party subscriptions to other streaming services like HBO, Shudder, etc). Something to keep in mind: Consider how many people get free Apple Music subscriptions through their phone plan.
Amazon wants subscribers to sign up to its Prime Delivery subscription service. All Prime customers get the TV service (and other services) bundled in. Subscribe for TV and ebooks, receive free shipping on Amazon items. Amazon Prime subscribers, on average, buy more from Amazon than non-Prime subscribers.
Disney want you engaging with its brand. With Disney+, Disney will entice viewers to spend more time with Disney, encouraging sales of merchandise, theme park tickets, cruises, and movie tickets.
Meanwhile Netflix are actively seeking subscribers to its TV service for that sole reason. When WarnerMedia launch HBO Max, it will be chasing that same market. And again with NBCUniversal. Those are Netflix’s actual competitors.
Which isn’t to say that Amazon/Apple/Disney isn’t going to create an impact. If viewers find Apple delivering 1-2 shows a week that they like, along with regular interesting content from Amazon and Disney, that eats into viewing time. Maybe all a viewer needs on top of that is HBO Max or Netflix.
The real struggle is for every other TV service in the world. Netflix will be fine (at least, it appears that way for the moment). Not only will it soon be more of a struggle to acquire content, but these companies will be fighting for the attention of viewers who will suddenly have a lot more options for things to watch.
Is Amazon Prime Video investing in a reboot of Australian family drama Packed To The Rafters? That’s the rumour being reported by David Knox at TV Tonight. Something sounds a tad off about this story - lets put a pin in it and see how it plays out…